Podcast Rewind: Florenz Ziegfeld and the Ziegfeld Follies

PODCAST Cue the dancing girls, lower the props, raise the curtain — we’re taking on Broadway’s most famous producer, Florenz Ziegfeld! We give you a brief overview of the first days of Broadway, then sweep into Ziegfeld’s life — from his early successes (both professional and personal) to his famous Follies. And find out how the current Ziegfeld Theatre, a movie house, relates to the original Ziegfeld Theatre, home of Broadway’s first ‘real’ musical, Show Boat. 

This was originally released on January 16, 2009.

NOW WITH BONUS CONTENT: Almost ten minutes of newly recorded material in 2015, adding a couple more interesting details about Anna Held, the current Ziegfeld movie theater and the life of the last living Ziegfeld girl!

A special illustrated version of the podcast on the Ziegfeld Follies (Episode #74) is now available on our NYC History Archive feed, via  iTunes or other podcast distribution services.  Chapter headings with images have been embedded in this show, so if your listening device is compatible with AAC/M4A files, just hit play and a variety of pictures should pop up.  The audio is superior than the original as well. (This will work as a normal audio file even if the images don’t appear.)

For this and our older episodes (Episodes #5-#74), subscribe to The Bowery Boys: NYC History Archive feed, on iTunes, directly from our host page, or directly via our RSS feed.

 

Florenz Ziegfeld and Anna Held on a quick carriage-ride jaunt in 1904

MNY30467
Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

 

Ziegfeld’s first star — the strongman Eugen Sandow. As with his later female dancers in the Follies, Ziegfeld often posed his stars in scantily-clad ‘classical’ pose. As long as they didn’t move, this sort of tableaux vivant was not considered obscene!

eugen

 

 

Anna Held — Ziegfeld’s lover and biggest star — posing for ‘A Parlor Match’

anna

 

The original Ziegfeld Theatre at 54th Street and Sixth Avenue, taken in 1927

 

Courtesy Museum of the City of New York
Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

 

A few more notable Ziegfeld girls — like Kay Laurell (photo taken in 1915)

Courtesy Library of Congress
Courtesy Library of Congress

Anna Pennington, photo taken 1910-1915

Courtesy Library of Congress
Courtesy Library of Congress

Louise Alexander, later Mrs. Louise Strang, photo taken 1908

Courtesy Library of Congress
Courtesy Library of Congress

 

Unidentified showgirl from the Follies of 1917

Courtesy New York Public Library
Courtesy New York Public Library

 

Unidentified performer in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931

Courtesy New York Public Library
Courtesy New York Public Library

 

Billie Burke in 1912, in some play called The Mind-The-Paint Girl

Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York
Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York